This is the first blog I have written since the Covid-19 Tsunami hit. Given that it has curtailed travel and I have had more time in my office – I certainly have no excuse. Maybe like lots of others I was just locked into a state of following the ebbs and flows and massive changes to so many – as well as the loss of so many lives across the world. The uncertainty, the despair, the hope.
The Australian Government recently announced the foundational programs for its $5 billion Future Drought Fund with eight programs starting to roll out from July 2020.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said in the press release that “The programs have been developed based on expert advice from the independent Consultative Committee, led by Mr Brent Finlay, a fourth generation farmer, as well as valuable input from communities and industry during last year’s national public consultation tour on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.”
Coutts J&R has been working on programs and projects in the climate adaptation space for a number of years and see the need for funding such as this. It will be interesting to see the projects and initiatives eventuating from this and their future impact on the communities and agricultural industries they are intending to support.
Effective monitoring, evaluation and learning will be vitally important for funded projects to prove the value of the Australian Government’s investment and its impact on rural Australia.
Further information about the Future Drought Fund and its programs can be found on the Drought Fund website.
Many rural, NRM and agricultural organisations invest sometimes significant amounts on communication programs which we all agree can play a vital role in growing next and end user knowledge, awareness and understanding. Why then are these clearly important activities not always measured as rigorously as the research and adoption and extension programs, with communication outcomes clearly linked to and measured against higher level organisational objectives?
So, we are coming to the end of a very hot and dry year in this part of the world – with scorching temperatures expected this week leading up to Christmas and no serious rain predicted until early in 2020. It’s hard enough for towns on severe water restrictions – with some already having run out of water – but so much worse for many of the farming and grazing community who depend on rain for their livelihoods.
It’s well into Autumn and here in Toowoomba we were heartened by some Autumn rain. I am not sure how effective this has been for producers on the Downs, but it has greened up our lawns – certainly good for the psyche.We had the opportunity to visit Spain, Morocco and Portugal over the last month. It’s always good to experience other places and be challenged to reflect on our own circumstances. We have our ancient culture in Australia although we lack the older architecture and modern history evident in many other countries.